Pupils storm Osun schools in church garments
Traditional religion adherents to come in regalia today
It was some sort of mild drama yesterday when some students of Baptist High School, Adeeke, Iwo, in Osun State, caused a stir among their colleagues as they appeared in the school in choir robes and other church garments.
The students, who came late to the school around 8:35a.m. headed straight to their various classes, as their colleagues hailed them for their courage.
The development followed the directive issued by the state chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by Reverend Elisha Ogundiya, in response to the state High Court judgment delivered on the June 3, 2016, by Justice Saka Oyejide Falola, which allows female Muslim students to wear hijab to public schools.
They had heeded the calls by the Christian body, who at the weekend after its emergency meeting, threatened that it would direct Christian pupils to start wearing choir robes and other religious garments to schools should the state government implement the judgment.
Many female Muslim students of the school wore hijab on their uniforms and no student was chased out of the classes for appearing in different clothes. All the students, irrespective of their chosen uniforms, were taught by their teachers. There was also no official reaction from the school authorities.
It was reliably gathered that plans were underway by some students, whose parents are traditionalists, to appear in masquerade regalia today (Wednesday), claiming that they also have legal rights to practice their faith as declared by Justice Falola in his ruling.
The same scenario played out at Salvation Army Middle School, Alekuwodo, Osogbo, with some female students putting on their hijabs, gaining assess into the school premises, while their Christian counterparts were also adoring different religious regalia.
Teaching and other academic activities were not disrupted as their teachers carried on with their duties, just as students wearing hijabs and Christian garments sat beside each other without any rancour.
But some members of CAN were spotted in different public schools to monitor the reaction of teachers and principals to the appearance of Christian students in religious garments.
Commenting on the development, the principal of Baptist High School, Iwo, Mr. Omotayo Arowolo, said there was no crisis in the school, regardless of the students, wearing religious attires, stressing that “you can see that teachers are doing their work and there is peace among everybody”.
Also speaking with journalists, head of Catholic bloc of CAN in Iwo community, Cathecist Paul Olagoke, explained that they were in the school to ensure no Christian student was chased out due to wearing of religious garments on their school uniforms.
According to him, “we are here to defend the rights of our children. Since female Muslim students are free to wear hijab, our children are also free to wear anything they want too.”
Earlier, Justice Jide Falola of the Osun State High Court had on June 3 given a verdict that Muslim students should be allowed to wear hijab in all public schools in the state because it was part of their fundamental rights.
The state Muslim community had at the weekend, urged the state chapter of CAN not to throw the state into religious crises, but to respect the judgment of the state High Court on the issue.
The Vice President of Osun State Muslim Community, Alhaji Mustapha Olawuyi, said: “It behooves every responsible individual to abide by the judgment of the court and appealed to Osun CAN to shun lawlessness in the best interest of justice and peace.”